Sat, Mar 23, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Public supports, but wary, of cross-strait media: poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

While more than three-quarters of respondents in a public opinion poll released yesterday support media exchanges across the Taiwan Strait, they oppose Chinese censorship of Taiwanese media, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said.

A tracking poll on cross-strait affairs conducted by the council showed that 79.3 percent of respondents support bilateral exchanges on television, film, radio and news, with 72 percent saying that such exchanges would promote media freedom in China.

However, the same poll showed that 69.8 percent of respondents said Beijing’s censorship of Taiwanese media, including its blocking of several news Web sites, was detrimental to the free flow of information across the Strait.

The survey, conducted between March 7 and 10, collected 1,085 valid samples with a margin of error of 2.98 percentage points.

In response to the survey, the Association of Taiwan Journalists renewed its call for Taiwan and China to seek a cross-strait agreement on media freedom.

The agreement should include protection of freedom of news gathering, personal safety, news reporting, the Internet, publications, personal actions and no governmental interference in media operations, association president Chen Hsiao-yi (陳曉宜) said in a press release.

Beijing regularly grants access to news gathering to select Taiwanese media, a strategy to control the media that could prevent the truth from being reported, Chen said, adding that media freedom can only be protected by including it in institutionalized negotiations across the Strait.

The council’s poll, which also asked respondents about their views on cross-strait relations over the long term, found that 86.1 percent supported the “status quo in a broad sense,” 5 percent wanted immediate independence and 2.6 percent backed immediate unification.

Among those who favored the status quo, 33.2 percent supported “maintaining the present status quo and deciding the country’s future later,” while 28.2 percent favored a permanent status quo. They were followed by those who supported “the status quo for now and independence in the future” at 15.6 percent, and those who favored eventual unification at 9.1 percent.

Respondents’ views toward the Chinese government were split, with 51.9 percent saying that Beijing was unfriendly to its Taiwanese counterpart, while 31.2 percent deemed it as being friendly.

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